The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), says it has destroyed counterfeit medical products worth billions of naira in Kano and Anambra states.
NAFDAC made this known in a statement by the agency’s resident media consultant, Mr Olusayo Akintola, and issued to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.
Akintola said products destroyed by the agency were drugs, vaccines, cosmetics and expired food items, in three geo-political zones of north-west, south-east and south-south respectively.
He noted that the NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, had also warned that henceforth, there would be no hiding place for the merchants of death, who derived joy in unpatriotic acts of circulating expired products.
The consultant said that the products were seized from manufacturers, distributors and importers, and all handed over to the agency.
He said some of the products destroyed such as unregistered drugs, improperly stored vaccine and tramadol, were confiscated by the Nigerian Customs Service.
He listed others as Rohypinol, intercepted on Benin Asaba expressway, and other fake medical products intercepted at different times.
“The estimated value of the products destroyed in Kano is N613,300,290.00 while fake products worth N1, 429,580,683.00 were destroyed in Awka, Anambra State, totalling N2,042,880,973.00.
“The products include drugs such as antibiotics, antihypertensive, antimalarial, herbal remedies, psychoactive, controlled substance and food products such as spaghetti, vegetable oil, non-alcoholic beverages, sachet water, Chocolates, Noodles.
“Also destroyed are cosmetics such as creams, pomade, and insecticides,” she added.
According to NEFDAC, the destruction of the dangerous products would eliminate the risk of their reintroduction into the market.
The agency noted that the destruction of the products was a proof of its resolve to safeguard the health of the people and ensure that only genuine, wholesome medicines were sold in Nigeria.
NAFDAC also disclosed in the statement that a warehouse of banned, controlled, fake and counterfeit products, worth millions of naira, was uncovered in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra.
It said the items were awaiting destruction, pending the setting aside of a Court Order.
It noted however, that apart from seizures and destructions, the agency had been able to secure conviction of culprits, ranging from one year to five years and options of fine.
It said that the Agency was adopting a proactive approach by engaging political, traditional, and religious leaders in sensitising their wards on the dangers of drug abuse.
NAFDAC pledged continuous surveillance on the products and to ensure enforcement of the regulations governing the products in Nigeria.
The agency advised Nigerians to be wary of possible infiltration of fake COVID-19 vaccines into the country, describing diversion and falsification of medicines and vaccines as the same everywhere.
It further urged Nigerians to be vigilant and expose anyone who might want to divert COVID-19 vaccines donated by the international donors for profiteering purposes.
According to Akintola, Adeyeye, who was represented by Mr Kingsley Ejiofor, the Director of Investigation and Enforcement, said that operatives of the agency are all over the country sniffing around to apprehend others in the deadly business.
She warned Nigerians to refrain from procuring COVID-19 vaccines online to avoid falling into the wrong hands of merchants of death.
“The public must be on the look out for these spurious and counterfeit vaccines and other regulated products.
“The cooperation of the public, corporate bodies, religious leaders, and traditional rulers is needed in this effort for the agency to eradicate the menace of drug counterfeiting and substance abuse.
The NAFDAC boss said that the products being destroyed could have had a devastating effect on the populace if not removed from the circulation.
She commended the officers of the agency for their untiring efforts in safeguarding the heath of Nigerians and enjoined them not to relent in ensuring that counterfeiters were brought to book.